South African Graham Ford announced on Monday that he was turning down the offer to be India’s cricket coach.
In a statement on the Kent cricket website, Ford said he would continue as the director of cricket with the county side.
"I am very grateful to the club for allowing me to go to India to find out more about the job of coaching the Indian team," Ford said. “I have had a chance to reflect on the offer made by the BCCI and their urgency to fill the vacant position. After careful consideration, I have decided to continue my work here at Kent. This has been a really difficult decision."
Indian Board treasurer N Srinivasan said in Bangalore that he had received a message from Ford saying he "could not take up the position at such short notice due to his commitment with Kent”. Srinivasan said the next choice would be discussed at the BCCI’s working committee meeting in Delhi on Tuesday.
As late as Sunday night when, as reported by HT, the Kent website had stated that they hoped Ford would remain with them, the BCCI brass was confident that it was a done deal.
So why did Ford decline?
According to sources in England, Ford got an idea of the overwhelming nature of things when he was bombarded by phone calls in England and then, landed in Chennai for the interview and saw the massive media presence. "Twenty four hours was enough to see how intense, intrusive and high-profile the job would be," said a player who did not want to be identified.
The big question now is what next? India leave for Ireland in a week, and they can opt for a short-term candidate (an Indian), a long-term candidate (also an Indian) or John Emburey, who lost out to Ford.
Emburey told HT in London that he understood Ford’s reluctance: "The contract was just for one year."
In Mumbai, Sunil Gavaskar, member of the coach selection panel, said, “We are back to square one now."